Lately it feels like something is breaking in the financial system. Perhaps it is just the end of a larger debt cycle, but perhaps there is some kind of deeper obsolescence developing. We’ll take a “Martian anthropologist” perspective on how money functions as a protocol, what that protocol is actually for, and where the abstractions that have served us well for organizing economic activity start to break down. Then we’ll offer some thought experiments on other protocols that could accomplish similar aims, mainly to help us take a step back from how it is now.